Guane people

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Alfarería guane 1.JPG
Guane doubled-chambered, ceramic, stirrup-spout vessel, 10th–16th century CE, exhibited at Chicamocha National Park
Regions with significant populations
Santander, Boyacá,  Colombia
Chibcha, Colombian Spanish
Traditional religion, Roman Catholicism
Related ethnic groups
Lache, U'wa, Muisca, Muzo, Yarigui
Deformed Guane skull

The Guane were a South American people that lived mainly in the area of Santander and north of Boyacá, both departments of present-day central-Colombia. They were farmers cultivating cotton, pineapple and other crops, and skilled artisans working in cotton textiles. The Guane lived north of the Chicamocha River, around the Chicamocha Canyon in an area stretching from Vélez in the south to the capital of Santander; Bucaramanga in the north.[1] Other sources state their territory did not extend so far north.[2] Guane, a corregimiento of Barichara, Santander, is said to have been the capital of the Guane people.


The word guane in the Chibcha language of the people means "tree" or "lower part of a leaf", or "skirt".[3][4]


The Guane made their own weapons, including arrows and spears. They interchanged plants for the stewpot with the Chitarero on the east and the Muisca to the south of their territories. The mantle making of the Guanes was well known in pre-Columbian Colombia. Mantles made from cotton have been dated back to the 11th century AD.[5] The Guane cultivated tobacco and made products of fique.[1]

Like the Maya and many other civilizations in the world, the Guane deliberately deformed the skulls of their children.[6]

In 1586 there were still some Guane left but there were no further references found after that date; nevertheless, the local archives indicated that they did not disappear completely. They mixed heavily with the Spanish colonizers, as the Guane were said to have European traits and very light skin.[7]

Like the Muisca, U'wa and Lache, the Guane spoke a Chibchan language.[2] They adored Bochica, the messenger god in the Muisca religion.[8] The Guane traded with their neighbouring indigenous groups; Lache to the east, U'wa to the northeast, Muzo to the south and Muisca to the southeast.

Rock art produced by the Guane have been found around the Chicamocha Canyon and on the Mesa de los Santos, Santander.[8]

The Guane people chewed coca combined with calcitic grains, using poporos.[8]

Municipalities belonging to Guane territory[edit]

The Guane inhabited the area of central and south Santander, around the Chicamocha Canyon and a small part of Boyacá.

Name Department Altitude (m)
urban centre
Guane Santander 1336
Colombia - Santander - Barichara.svg
Aratoca Santander 1800
Colombia - Santander - Aratoca.svg
Cabrera Santander 980
Colombia - Santander - Cabrera.svg
Coromoro Santander 1518
Colombia - Santander - Coromoro.svg
Curití Santander 1409
Colombia - Santander - Curití.svg
Encino Santander 1850
Colombia - Santander - Encino.svg
Guapotá Santander 1534
Colombia - Santander - Guapotá.svg
(shared with Muisca and Yarigui)
Santander 1540
Colombia - Santander - Güepsa.svg
Jordán Santander 425
Colombia - Santander - Jordán.svg
Mogotes Santander 1700
Colombia - Santander - Mogotes.svg
Ocamonte Santander 1398
Colombia - Santander - Ocamonte.svg
Oiba Santander 1420
Colombia - Santander - Oiba.svg
Palmar Santander 1200
Colombia - Santander - Palmar.svg
Páramo Santander 1200
Colombia - Santander - Páramo.svg
Pinchote Santander 1131
Colombia - Santander - Pinchote.svg
San Gil Santander 1117
Colombia - Santander - San Gil.svg
San Joaquín Santander 1950
Colombia - Santander - San Joaquín.svg
Los Santos Santander 1310
Colombia - Santander - Los Santos.svg
Suaita Santander 1700
Colombia - Santander - Suaita.svg
Valle de San José Santander 1250
Colombia - Santander - Valle de San José.svg
Villanueva Santander 1450
Colombia - Santander - Villanueva.svg
San José de Pare Boyacá 1545
Colombia - Boyaca - San Jose de Pare.svg
Santana Boyacá 1550
Colombia - Boyaca - Santana.svg

See also[edit]


External links[edit]